Accommodation Request Procedure

The Judicial Branch Policy on Access for People With Disabilities requires that reasonable accommodations and auxiliary aids and services will be provided to ensure effective communication and participation of individuals with disabilities in the court system. Accommodations are variations in the way things are normally done to enable individuals with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to participate in court activities. Accommodations may be initiated by court personnel or in response to a request from a person needing an accommodation.

Requests for accommodations by court users may be made to the clerk of court where the proceeding will take place or to the assigned judge, family law magistrate or mediator.

Requests can be made in writing using forms provided by the court. The Accommodation Request Form is available to print, complete, and mail. This form is also available from the clerk of court.

Requests can also be made in person, by telephone or by other means at the discretion of the requestor. Where the request is not made in writing, the clerk shall complete the accommodation request form. A photocopy of all completed Accommodation Request forms shall also be scanned and emailed to the Court Access Coordinator at accessibility@courts.maine.gov.    

Requests should be as specific as possible. For example, if an individual is deaf or hard or hearing, the kind of auxiliary aid or service needed should be indicated, such as computer assisted real time transcription services (CART) or qualified sign language, oral, cued, or speech interpreters. When the person receiving interpreting services is a juvenile, this should be noted. Juveniles using American Sign Language often require a relay interpreter.

The need for an accommodation shall be taken into account in scheduling. In some cases, accommodations can be made on short notice, but there are situations where additional time will be required. The court will attempt to avoid delays caused by the provision of accommodations.

The clerk of court will serve as the coordinator for accommodations. The clerk of court, or the clerk's designee will process requests for accommodations.

The clerk of court will provide or arrange for the needed accommodation if the clerk is able to do so. As examples, the clerk will arrange for interpreters when needed, enlarge photocopy documents for persons with visual disabilities, or provide assistive listening devices where they are available.

When the clerk of court is unable to provide a requested accommodation, the clerk will contact the Court Access Coordinator or assigned judge to get assistance in acquiring accommodations that are not readily available. In some circumstances it will be necessary to move or reschedule a hearing to provide a needed accommodation.

The clerk of court will make a written record of the need for an accommodation for a person involved in any court event, so that the accommodation will be provided if the case is rescheduled or for later stages of the case. This record will be maintained in the case file or in MEJIS.

Any denial of a request for accommodation by a judge or duly authorized court official will be accompanied by a Denial of Accommodation Request Form or other written statement of the reason for denial and a copy of the grievance procedure. A photocopy of the Denial of Accommodation Request Form or other statement of denial shall be provided to the Court Access Coordinator by email at accessibility@courts.maine.gov, or other means.

Rev. 1/30/17